Published on December 4th, 2016 | by Staples Soccer0
Ziggy Hallgarten, Teddy Lawrence Earn Block “S” Awards; Other Honors, 2017 Captains Announced
The last major event of the 2016 season — the 58th annual Staples boys soccer banquet — was held tonight. It was one of the biggest — and best — ever.
Over 200 players, parents, siblings and friends honored the varsity, reserve and freshman teams. The Norwalk Inn event included heartfelt speeches by coaches and captains, introductions of players, and a number of awards.
Head coach Dan Woog noted the evening’s several themes. There was sadness that the varsity team was together for the last time; wistfulness for the difference a few bounces might have made; pride in playing right alongside the best teams in the state; satisfaction of upholding the “Staples standard”; joy in tremendous accomplishments, and eagerness in looking ahead to 2017.
The 2 Block “S”s went to seniors Ziggy Hallgarten and Teddy Lawrence.
In a vote by teammates, Hallgarten won the Most Valuable Player Award. Woog cited the All-State goalkeeper for his skill, strength, athleticism, reflexes, courage, positioning, outlets and overall leadership. At least once a game, Woog said, the quad-captain made an eye-popping save.
Lawrence received the Most Improved Player Award. Woog noted that when tryouts began, the coaching staff wondered if there would be a place for the senior on the squad. Quickly, however, he earned a starting spot — and went on to become “the physical and emotional heart of the team.”
The Alumni Award — given to a player who exemplifies “the values that have been the foundation of the Staples program since its inception” — went to Spencer Daniels. Woog noted the quad-captain’s words and actions show that he truly understands what it means to wear the Staples “S” — to be linked together with older players, and those who follow.
The Top of the Hill Team awarded 2 scholarships, each worth $2,500. They will be named each year in honor of a different Staples soccer alum who gives back to the program. This year they were given in the name of Chris O’Dell Booster club representative Stuart McCarthy ’79 P’10 presented the checks to Shane Dasbach and Griff O’Neill. Both seniors showed complete, 4-year dedication to Staples soccer, on and off the field.
The Jeff Lea Award — presented to an adult for “long, enthusiastic and meritorious service to the Staples boys soccer program” — was special in 2 ways this year. First, it was presented by Lea himself. The coach who led the Wreckers from 1978 to 2002 is usually unavailable due to ski instructor responsibilities, but this year he was at the banquet and stood with the recipient. Second, it meant a lot to Lea to see the awardee: Stuart McCarthy. A member of Lea’s 1st state championship squad, McCarthy has served the Wreckers as a player, coach, summer referee and Top of the Hill Team member. Equally importantly, he’s the father of state champion goalkeeper Michael McCarthy.
The evening included strong speeches by freshman co-captains Colin Corneck and Teddy O’Kane, and reserve captains Jake Didner and Ryan Fincher. Varsity captains Hallgarten, Daniels, Josh Berman and Daniel Reid spoke insightfully about their experiences in the Staples program. Coaches Kurt Dasbach, Chris O’Dell, Tom Henske, Nicky Hoberman and Russell Oost-Lievense also spoke powerfully.
A superb slide show, created by Armelle Daniels, was another highlight of the evening.
Two more important announcements were made. Berman passed #15 — worn by Preston Hirten ’07, symbolizing tenacious play, passion for soccer and deep commitment to the Staples program — to Chris Martenson. Berman offered a heartfelt speech about Preston, and the importance of the #15 tradition.
Martenson earned another honor: He and Matt Engler have been chosen as co-captains for the 2017 team. Woog praised the duo, and said, “they will lead our program well.”
A non-varsity award was presented by Oost-Lievense. Emerson Anvari and Teddy O’Kane were dual recipients of the Stephen Martin Award. It is presented annually to a freshman player or players who best epitomize Steve’s “special spirit, by combining the desire to excel with the willingness to work and the eagerness to share.”
In addition, Hoberman named Ryan Fincher as his Most Valuable Player. He also gave reserve Coach’s Awards to Will Foisie and Lefty Penderakis.